Why do kids get all the bedtimes?

Children. Smiling, vibrating sacks of potential and mucus. Everybody talks about them, and many even claim to enjoy their company. But what are they? Will we ever obtain the photographic proof of their existence? And will they live up to their reputation?

The folklore of our culture says that children must:
  • at some point go to bed
  • go to bed when the parent says so
  • and, go to bed at more or less a predictable time each night.
But is this actually the best course of action? Instead of examining the so-called "scientific" "evidence" of "smarties", let's look at some of the feedback mechanisms that nature has built into the child to help its parents understand the best way to bring it up.

First, we see that the child has been granted the ability to turn minimal foodstuffs into nearly inexhaustible alertness, enthusiasm, and activity. The creature is practically defined by how awake it is most of the time. It is not a creature for which regenerative sleep would seem to be a priority.

Second, the child can literally tell us how it feels about bedtime. And so far all the reviews are bad. Admittedly,  the child's brain is not progressed much beyond that of summer squash, and the child may not yet have learned to make non-self-destructive choices. (surely adolescence is the missing factor between this state and genius...).

But the volume and intensity and raw demon rage that is brought to bear against the project of bedtime often starts to accumulate a certain argumentative weight through sheer repetition that, over time, could convince the strictest logician.

Besides, as we help to sculpt the child into a viable and responsible agent of their own demise like the rest of us, how does it help our cause by insisting that in this one crucial area, about which the child has inarguable subjective evidence and opinion, that their agency is a priori forfeit? That doesn't make sense.

The third feedback mechanism is the fact that nature has made sleep, for children, into a well-stocked minefield of psychological horrors, because nature loves psychiatrists.

Right now, a hundred million children between the ages of 5 and 10 are regular bedwetters. That's old enough for the child to wake up straight into a world of guilt and misery, and to fully believe that they have Done Something Bad. It is a cruel trick of nature for the Shame Gland to develop fully before the Piss Control Gland.

Also, seventy-five percent of children experience nightmares indelible enough to be recalled into adulthood. And thirty percent will experience nightmares so epic in their torment that they awaken their parents.

A further four percent (that's eighty million children worldwide) will be granted an express pass to Hell and become a Night Terror Child. You know, because it's not quite bad enough for images of the fearful surreal to torture us when we close our eyes; let's go ahead and have them continue after we've opened our eyes. Let's make sure the child understands, before they know how to tie their shoes, how easily evil and insanity can flow from the ichor of the Shadow Realms into the room where they keep their toys!

The statistics point to sleep being something to protect children from. I mean, why would you risk it? What kind of parent are you?

Adults, on the other hand, and especially parents, beg for bedtime. It's the highlight of their day, and the driving force behind their hopes and dreams. Most of the most popular drugs amongst adults, like alcohol, marijuana, meditation, and satellite television are engineered to induce a state resembling the ego-less release of responsibility that they experience when they lay down in bed for the night. The only drug that does not do this is caffeine, which is employed in such heavy doses by adults because it's the only drug that can make our bodies temporarily stop wanting to go to bed.

All of our feedback mechanisms point to us needing to go to bed RIGHT NOW, like, before finishing this blog. Immediately.

Most obviously, there's the fact that thirty-seven percent of drivers have literally fallen asleep at the wheel, resulting in 100,000 crashes every year. That's fucking insane. That's not a problem a child ever has.

There's also the same self-report feedback mechanism as with children, except now the feedback is consistently "Please allow me to go to bed". No adult fights against bedtime. We fight against the things that fight against bedtime.

But lest we forget, the greatest motivator for all human (nay, animal) behavior is sex, but both dicks and vaginas stop working when there's not enough sleeping going on, meaning that nature has tied adults getting enough sleep directly to our biological raison-d'etre. That is literally the largest, most heavyweight feedback mechanism that nature could ever bring to bear.

But sixty-one percent of adults now crave sleep more than sex, which means that lack of sleep will without question result in human extinction. (It's just math.)

Looked at from this perspective, I think there's only one explanation for this parental obsession with bedtimes. I think the adults want quiet. I think there's a bedtime conspiracy in this country, a multi-generational campaign of mythology and superstition masquerading as "care", which adults have railroaded into tender children's minds through the bullshit force of "parental authority" (another Machiavellian web of propaganda which I won't go into here).

The focus is wrong. The infrastructure we should be building is for follow-the-sun, shift-based parenting teams. We should not be forcing children to conform to sleep standards that we wish we ourselves could live up to, in some twisted nonsensical effort to "treat ourselves better in the past".

This is not the time nor the area in which to be teaching lessons about discipline and character. I speak for the children. Let them stay up.

Words and phrases I'll try to use less in 2016

Ain't that a bitch, Your daughter is a witch (our annual Halloween poem)